Building the 1/700 WSW
HMS Royal Oak
click to enlarge
by Jim Baumann
The WSW HMS Royal Oak kit is like much of the rest of that companies products, totally symetrical, well engineered and well cast with no warpage and therefore a good starting point. Most of the outlines are spot on, though curiously there are some inaccuracies and omissions, more later.
There is a rudimentary  bit of PE which I usually discard. In this instance  I kept the Crane and used the basics of the catapult as this was individual to this ship as far as I can acertain.

 I used as my references; The Profile Morskie monograph of the RO (nice drawings and sketches; very good value, photos indifferent. Of  primary use was the book by Raven/Roberts  'British Battleships of World War Two" also known as the very expensive bible...

Click images to enlarge

The first thing I did was to add/alter the checkchain plating by the main anchor cable runs. An additional hatch was added on the foredeck between the cables. Immediately aft of the fwd breakwater there are a number of cable reels shown on the drawings which were not present; I used WEM pro series items there and aft just fwd either side of x-turret. The anti torpedo bulges were missing the various protrusions and hatches(?) shown on the plans, these were added from self adhesive tape strips and paint circled with pencil  so as not to create a bump where none should be. The very large gash(?) chutes fwd were reduced in height a little and thickness a lot!  beware, the resin is brittle, mine snapped off twice...! The main turret blast bags were IMHO too full on the top surface, looking as the if the gun was being fired(!), hence I scraped away at the top to create a hollow and added white glue and paint on the underside to create a baggier saggier effect, this was reinforced by painting and some pencil shading of creases.

The turrets had ladders and walkways added to them from WEM ladder stock. The stairways and companionways between all the various bridge deck levels were challenging to add as the deck cutouts had to be aligned fairly accurately so that the stairs would be vertical and symmetrical. The stanchions for the boat deck are a distinctive feature of the R-class, these were made from very fine brass strips cut from PE scrap; the fillets top and bottom were made from white glue to form the triangular gusset, the strengthening ribs for the sea boat davits were also added from PE scrap. the funnel was drilled out and the riveting lines cut in with a stanley blade. Funnel grille was made from  sprue as the supplied PE item was too clunky. PomPoms were WEM pro series resin embellished with PE add-ons, the Carley floats supplied were OK apart from being cast onto a wafer of resin which can be tedious to remove cleanly and squarely so these also were replaced with WEM items. Interestingly there were  no paravanes  or balsa raft supplied or cast in place, again WEM items sharpened up with a blade rescued the day. The masts were constructed from metal rod as the resin items were over scale and I am always worried about warpage. Both starfish were butchered about from the multitude  supplied on the WEM Warspite/Barham/QE Photoetch sheets. The braces underneath all the platforms were added from PE triangles cut with scissors. There is a platform missing below the rangefinder platform on the mainmast  which was constructed from PE scrap. The main observation bridge had wind baffle plates added from minute brass strips. The  Spotting top was a sad affair with no windows indicated; these were added from suitable ladder stock which gave the correct number of windows , what luck!. The wind direction indicator and anemometer gear was fiddled together from sprue and brass bits.
The aft mast also had a starfish constructed to suit and the Profile Morskie drawings (some of which are duplicated in  (1/700!!) made life much easier. The range finder platform appeared to be  too thick  in section and outline so a replacement was made from Brass scrap along with the supporting structure and a new range finder tub and canopy from  alloy tube and white glue. The aforementioned catapult is more or less right in outline but needed all the additional bracing and pulleys added, this became a project within itself; now affixed to ship  you can barely discern all that work; is it worth it?...?
The aircraft supplied I did not like, so I scratchbuilt the plane  from wood and resin casting wafers according to the large scale drawings in the PM book, this had struts made from cut down pieces of 1/350 Handrail longitudinals and then rigged with sprue, the cockpit was drilled out and a spinner made from white glue, I do not know if it is EXACTLY right but it looks right... All the inclined stairs, ladders and companionways were made from the WEM PE sheets, the railings were in the main GMM ultrafine The fairleads (chocks) were made from PE O gauge railway carriage handles.... The upper yardarms in white on the mainmast were made from  white catwhisker (dropped!!) as there is then no paint buildup or danger of warpage as there can be with stretched white sprue. Ship was painted in AP507A  overall from WEM Colourcoats, this went on alarmingly dark; great for 1;1 scale, I wanted to make the paint take on the chalky look of a ship at sea so I washed it down in light grey and used alternating shades around box structures to create depth and shadows, decks were  Humbrol Radome Tan dry brushed  and washed with a variety of colours (see my method in the HOW TO section)
The sea is watercolor paper laid over cocktail sticks to give swell. The painted and boot topped ship was mounted on a few slivers  styrene sheet; then the gap between the 'water' and the hull where applicable   were in-filled with white glue, later painted in dull anti fouling colour, ergo lower hull showing in troughs..!! There are loads of small details I have not mentioned that were puzzles in themselves but nevertheless added to the challenge of this model.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this kit on the proviso that it need extra work to realize its potential.

More of Jim Baumann's work.